Logo: University of Southern California

Epstein Department Ph.D. Candidate Wins Prized Urban Studies Grant

$20,000 awards meant to encourage research with social implications for Los Angeles area

April 24, 2009 —

Pavankumar Murali, who is writing an engineering dissertation that focuses on railway routing and scheduling with special attention to reducing the current travel times and delays on the Los Angeles area network, is a winner of a 2009 Haynes Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship.

"Freight planning to reduce roadway congestion impacts many dimensions of urban life, including air quality, and the competiveness of the regional economy," commented Epstein Department Chair James Moore II. "These questions are particularly important in Los Angeles because of the national economic relevance of the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach."

Pavankumar Murali's research is "a prime example of the Viterbi School's engineering + concept."
Murali is a  third year doctoral student in the Epstein ISE Department being advised by Professors Maged Dessouky and Fernando Ordóñez.   

"The findings provided by Pavan and his advisors add an important degree of freedom in the formulation of many local policies," noted Moore.  "This makes his dissertation research a prime example of the Viterbi School's "engineering +" concept, confronting and overcoming complex challenges with a combination of creative and the technical problem-solving skills."

Haynes Fellowships are awarded on an annual basis in the amount of $20,000 to graduate students enrolled at institutions in the greater Los Angeles area.

Established in 1926 by a prominent, reform-minded physician and his suffragist wife, the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation is a leading supporter of social science research for Los Angeles. It is also the oldest private foundation in the city.

Each year, according to the institutions' website, the Foundation distributes up to $3 million in grants and scholarships to various institutions, most of them local. These funds, in turn, are used to encourage study and research into the underlying causes of social problems in Los Angeles and to recommend ways of addressing them.

Over the years, the Foundation has funded hundreds of important urban studies in the areas of education, transportation, local government, elections, public safety, demographics, public personal services and natural resources. In doing so, the Foundation has remained true to its founder's philosophy of promoting "the social betterment of mankind."